Anyone Building Spinets

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Al Dodson
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Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Al Dodson »

I am wondering if anyone here builds spinets. I have access to a great deal of information including the string length measurements of 10-12 spinets and can obtain other measurements for at least six of them including one American made example.

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

Spinet seems to be somewhat generic, at least to me. Do you mean with plucked strings (like a harpsichord) or hammered strings (like a piano) or something else?

Al Dodson
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Al Dodson »

Hi Charlie,I,m talking about the traditional bent side spinet having plucked strings like a harpsichord. There is one instrument from 1779 that is hammered like a piano.

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

Nice, I was hoping that was what you meant. I'd be interested in any measurements you can take, thanks.

Matthew Lau
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Matthew Lau »

You may want to contact John from John Phillips Harpsichord.
He makes Harsichords, Clavichords, and Spinets professionally.
He's also a really nice guy.
I'll be visiting his neighbor tomorrow, and maybe dropping off some beers.

http://www.jph.us/

Bill Raymond
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Bill Raymond »

Anyone interested in making a spinet should check out the late John Barnes' little book "Making a Spinet by Traditional Methods". It's not expensive, and is available from John's son, Peter Barnes at www.peterbarnesharpsichords.com and from other sources.

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

Thanks for the info.

I ordered the book from Amazon and got the 2015 revision. The 1998 revision of the book is online here: http://www.peterbarnesharpsichords.com/ ... spinet.pdf.

The full size drawing is available from a shop in Germany (http://www.vogel-scheer.de) for 98 Euros (+34 EU for shipping).
Last edited by Charlie Schultz on Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Updated price of drawing

Bill Raymond
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Bill Raymond »

Charlie, have you compared the 2 editions? If so, what revisions have been made?

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

Hi Bill,
They seem pretty close- the table of contents is the same, page numbers all match. The illustrations look to be the same. The new book has 8 or so b&w detail photographs of the original instrument in the back. Also it looks like some drawings used to be available directly from John Barnes.

Bill Raymond
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Bill Raymond »

Thanks Charlie.

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

I received the "full-size" plans yesterday and am a little disappointed. For 98 Euros (110 USD) I kind of expected them to be on mylar or good quality bond paper, but they appear to be plotted on normal paper. Per the printed scale, it seems to be around 3/4" off length-wise and unfortunately only a few of the small pieces are dimensioned. On the plus side, there is a good amount of detail on the drawing.

Bill Raymond
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Bill Raymond »

Charlie, You may want to consider joining the University of Iowa HPSCHD-L list at http://list.uiowa.edu/scripts/wa.exe?A0=HPSCHD-L. They also have a Facebook page that can be subscribed to by list members. Expert harpsichord/clavichord/fortepiano makers and players contribute to the list and can answer any questions you might have along the way.

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

Good idea, thanks Bill. I used to belong to that list > 10 years ago and got turned off by some derisive members. I'll give it another go.

Bill Raymond
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Bill Raymond »

Charlie, the list is pretty well tamed now. There was a character who used to post inappropriate comments and profanity, but he was banned by the moderator who does try to keep things civil. That character used to post odd pseudo-philosophical ramblings, too under pseudonyms; possibly had some psychological problems. He's now back, but seems to be behaving himself. The Facebook page features photos that were otherwise not able to be posted on the list itself. I'm not sure I'll ever build a harpsichord myself, though I have the start of one given to me by a friend who wasn't able to complete it (in the mid-1960s!), but it's always good to see how others approach building instruments as there is always something transferrable to guitar making or other woodworking.

Nic Hambas
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Nic Hambas »

A year or ten ago, I began researching the idea of building a spinet. My research led me to draw my own plans for an Italian square spinet, rather than the odd-looking English one. That work left me happy but exhausted. So I went back to building bowed dulcimers for a quick fix. Eventually, I got around to building the trickiest part of the spinet, the jack box. And that's where I'm standing now. I saw this posting almost by accident and got the urge to finish what I started. By the way, John Barnes' website makes no mention of any book or other printed material on the subject. Apparently, it's out of print again.
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Bill Raymond
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Bill Raymond »

Although Peter Barnes' website doesn't mention plans or book, I believe if you contact him by email he can supply you with either. I bought the book from him, but had to email him to ask whether it was available from him. I don't know why he doesn't put it on his site.

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

I just got the book(let) from Amazon a couple months ago, see this post: http://www.mimf.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php ... 601#p45071

For my build in progress (though progress has slowed as of late), see this thread: http://www.mimf.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=4681

Al Dodson
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Al Dodson »

Must have dozed off there for a minute. Great to see Bill Raymond here; its been a long time. Lets see if I can remember how to post.

The first on is "The 1668 Hayward," probably the first English spinet.

My files are in Excel. I cant seem to figure out how to post them. I can print and photograph them but it would be much more useful as a spreadsheet.

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Charlie Schultz
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Charlie Schultz »

Hi Al,
You should (now) be able to post Excel files. Look for the "Attachment" tab at the bottom of the reply screen (just below the "Save draft"/"Preview"/"Submit" buttons). Click "Add files", select your file and then "Place inline" to actually put it in the post.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Anyone Building Spinets

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Hi Al,
Good to see you're back. I always enjoyed reading your posts.

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